David Hytner was our man in N17. Here’s his report. Night!
Man-of-the-match Gareth Bale talks to Sky, and makes sure to give the interim boss his due. “They came at us and pushed hard in the first half. Obviously we’ve only had a couple of days with the new manager to work on a couple of things. At half-time we had a good chat, a few things we could improve slightly, and we controlled the game in the second half and deserved victory. We had a few positional issues and needed to be more patient on the ball. Obviously it was a very good team-talk at half time, and we came out in the second half to play well. Some minor teething issues, but we continue to improve, we’ve got a cup final at the weekend, a few days to work, and we go from there.”
FULL TIME: Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Southampton
After a hell of a week, it’s a near-perfect evening for Spurs. They’ve turned around a half-time deficit for the first time this season, both Bale and Son scored ahead of the League Cup final, and the interim boss Ryan Mason is off to a fast start. Saints were the better side in the first half, but so poor in the second they deserved nothing. Spurs leapfrog Liverpool into sixth, while Saints remain in 14th.
90 min +6: Moura trots down the right and runs down the clock.
90 min +5: Dier is booked for overdoing the clock management.
90 min +4: Saints aren’t doing anything to make Spurs nervous.
90 min +3: Saints knock it around the back but can’t get through the Spurs press. The clock ticks on, as they faff around at the wrong end of the pitch.
90 min +2: Saints have now dropped 21 points from winning positions this season, the worst record in the division.
90 min +1: There will be six added minutes. On the touchline, Ralph Hasenhuttl shakes his head in a mixture of disbelief and frustration. He can have no complaints about this. His team have failed to come out for the second half.
GOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Southampton (Son 90 pen)
Son gives McCarthy the look, sending the keeper the wrong way before belting into the bottom right! He gets his fifth goal against Saints this season after all!
Penalty for Tottenham Hotspur!
88 min: But they’re getting one anyway! That’s because during the very same stramash, Djnepo slides in on Reguilon, on the edge of the box. The ref books him and awards a free kick … but that’s right on the white line, and VAR upgrades to a spot kick!
86 min: Son releases Lamela down the left wing. Lamela earns a corner. Son curls it into the mixer. Spurs want a penalty, claiming Adams headed the ball onto the hand of Vestergaard. They’re not getting that.
84 min: Saints need some extra threat up front – they’ve been extremely blunt since the departure of Ings – and so Tella makes way for Redmond.
81 min: Spurs still look the more likely, though now they’re cutting frustrated figures in the wake of that disallowed goal. Still plenty of time for the winner that would spring them ahead of Liverpool in sixth place on goal difference.
78 min: Some space for Bale down the right. His cross causes some brief bedlam in the Saints area, but Son and Moura get in each other’s way and the chance is gone.
NO GOAL. Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Southampton
76 min: Son’s fifth goal against Saints this season is chalked off. It looked the correct decision; Moura was plumb in line, bang slap in McCarthy’s road. It’s unfortunate for Son, who finished a fine flowing move marvellously, but them’s the breaks.
75 min: VAR wants a look at this, though. There’s a possibility that Moura, in an offside position, was in McCarthy’s line of sight as Son took his shot. This might be disallowed, you know.
GOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Southampton (Son 74)
Lo Celso drops a shoulder to make space in the middle. He slips wide left for Reguilon, who enters the box and rolls infield for Son. The striker opens his body and sidefoots crisply into the bottom left! Lovely flowing move.
71 min: Saints draw a little sting from the game, slowing things down. A wise move; they’ve been rocking since the equaliser and could do with regrouping. “OK, I’m being honest,” begins N17 denizen Dom. “We’re sluggish and low on tempo, bereft of ideas, low on confidence, but you know WHATEVER, I’m pretty sure there were a few forward passes in that first half. PLUS Bale started AND scored! TBH after the departure of the Soccer Sauron, watching a re-enactment of Pieter Breguel’s Triumph of Death soundtracked by Joy Division on the pitch would seem like Germany plugging seven gaols past Brazil. So relative to the last 17 months, this is like Brazil 70, Ajax 74, Milan of the 80s, peak-Barca, really, you name it and take your pick. MASON IN!!!” Sheer poetry. Seems Mourinho can inspire great art after all.
69 min: Now it’s Southampton who are struggling to get out of their final third. Seems like this lad Mason has got some half-time chops!
67 min: Djnepo comes on for the ever-disappointing Walcott.
66 min: Saints are visibly deflated, and suddenly look extremely porous at the back. Lo Celso hooks the ball away from a dithering Bednarek on the edge of the six-yard box. As it rolls across the face of goal, only the sharp instincts of Salisu denies Bale an easy tap-in.
65 min: Bale has scored in every game he’s played against Southampton since leaving the south coast as a young man. Good to see him celebrating his excellent goal, rather than going through the Preposterous Theatrical Show of Respect.
63 min: Spurs are reenergised, Son nearly opening Saints up with an adroit dribble down the middle. He’s crowded out of it eventually, but this is much, much better from the hosts.
62 min: Tella tries to hit back by dribbling into the box from the left. He falls backwards, claiming a tug on his shirt by Bale. Neither referee nor VAR is interested. It was a bit of a saucy claim; there didn’t seem to be much contact at all.
GOAL! Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Southampton (Bale 60)
Ndombele drives down the inside left. He slips a diagonal pass into Moura, on the penalty spot. Moura’s shot is blocked by Salisu, the ball breaking to Bale, to the right of goal. Bale takes a touch and curls an exquisite shot into the top left! McCarthy had no chance.
59 min: The Saints physio sets about taping an ice pack on Ings’ thigh. The departure of Southampton’s star striker will give Spurs some much-needed succour. Armstrong moves up front, in the pocket behind Adams.
57 min: That’s an expensive effort for Saints, because Ings has pulled something while slapping that effort on goal. A rueful shake of the head, and he’s replaced by Diallo.
56 min: A lot of space for Walker-Peters down the right. His cross eventually finds Ings, on the edge of the D. He whistles a shot goalwards, but it’s easy pickings for Lloris.
54 min: Bale drifts infield from the right before sending a wild swerving shot goalwards. McCarthy does well to keep an eye on it, claiming easily enough. That’s Tottenham’s first effort on target this evening.
53 min: Space for Adams down the right. He crosses towards Tella on the other wing. Tella rolls infield for Armstrong, who can’t quite work space to shoot. A couple of nice one-touch moves from both sides, there.
51 min: Moura fires a pass down the inside-left channel. Bale elegantly cushions it first time back towards Son, whose shot from the edge of the box is blocked. That was a glorious little flick by Bale, who still has it, baby.
49 min: Moura is good to continue. The match starts up again at a slow pace. No notable upturn in the Tottenham tempo as yet.
47 min: Moura is down having been barged by Ward-Prowse. He may have twisted his knee, his left leg having been planted during the challenge. All accidental. He gets some running repairs from the physio, and graciously accepts Ward-Prowse’s hand of apology.
Spurs get the ball rolling again. They’ve been behind at half-time in six other games this season. They’ve gone on to lose them all. They’re the only side in the division not to turn a single one of these situations into at least a point. Can interim coach Ryan Mason buck this sorry trend? No changes yet.
Half-time task. Sign up for the Fiver. It’s free, and worth every penny. Be about your business!
HALF TIME: Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Southampton
Saints thoroughly deserve their lead. Spurs have been a collective non-event. The most important half-time team-talk of Ryan Mason’s managerial career is coming up!
45 min +1: Aurier crosses deep from the right. Son, on the corner of the six-yard box, sends it across the front of the goal. Moura leans back and converts in the rugby style. That should have been buried … not that Spurs deserve to be level.
45 min: Reguilon tears down the left and tries to cross low. Ings, tracking back, blocks out for a corner. Bale’s delivery momentarily causes consternation for Saints, pinballing around their six-yard box, but finally drops to Adams, who hoicks clear.
44 min: Ndombele picks up the first booking of the evening for a cynical clip on the back of Adams’ boot.
43 min: A long pass down the middle. Walcott extends a leg and nearly diverts the dropping ball past Lloris, but doesn’t get quite enough on it.
41 min: Son’s free kick doesn’t beat the first man. This has been a miserable performance from the hosts so far. McCarthy has had next to nothing to do.
40 min: … blooters it witlessly into the wall. Saints half clear, but Walcott is penalised for toe-poking the ball off Lo Celso’s toe. A chance for Spurs to load the box again.
39 min: But there’s some relief as Son makes his way down the inside-left channel, and purchases a free kick from the unnecessarily aggressive Armstrong. Dier takes the free kick and …
38 min: From the corner, Saints work the corner hither and yon. Eventually Tella shoots from the edge of the D. The sting’s taken out of the shot by a deflection, and dribbles through to Lloris. Spurs are living extremely dangerously at the moment.